The number of diabetes cases among adolescents has nearly doubled since 2001, according to a new study by the American Medical Association. Those numbers are expected to quadruple by 2050.

The average age of onset for Type 2 diabetes among children? About 14 — an age that was unthinkable decades ago for a disease associated with adults.

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Spikes for Type 2 diabetes were highest among Black and Hispanic children. Some attribute the recent spike to COVID-19 — fueled by lockdowns and closed schools, which have reduced access to health care, healthy food and places to exercise.

Researchers are seeing not only more new diagnoses, but worse cases that require acute hospital care. Nationwide and in Mississippi pediatric hospitalizations for diabetes have surged.

Though Type 1 cases are still more prevalent among children, and have also increased recently, the rise has not been as sharp as Type 2 cases — suggesting practitioners should focus more on prevention, such as diabetes screenings at younger ages.

Misty Clark-Johnson, education coordinator at the B.B. King Museum, is seen here in her office in Indianola, Miss., on Sept. 23, 2021. The museum operates the “Be Smart! Control Your Diabetes” initiative.

Type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult-onset diabetes” because it only developed with age — after a lifetime of high sugar intake and sedentary lifestyle — and was rarely seen in children.

But over the past two decades, new cases among children have exploded — rendering the old term moot, and setting up more and more kids for chronic complications for life. The earlier someone develops the condition, the more likely they are to see long-term health complications earlier in life, such as blindness, high blood pressure, limb amputations and kidney failure, and to die younger.

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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